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Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Weymouth Relief Road sculpture on display in Bridport

A scale model of a proposed sculpture for the Weymouth Relief Road has gone on public display for the first time.

It is hoped that it will be sited on both sides of the road, once complete.

The model sculpture is currently on display at Bridport Arts Centre as part of Sherborne House Arts Earthscapes exhibition.

The work by sculptor Richard Harris shows some 28 boulders gradually rising on steel poles reaching to 3m (10ft) above the Southdown Ridge.

Tropical lagoon

Richard Harris with his scale model of a proposed sculpture of the Weymouth Relief Road
Sculptor Richard thinks his proposal 'puts the geology back where it was'

All the rocks,­ each weighing between one and eight tonnes, are sourced from the 1.6m tonnes of material which has been moved from the site, where road construction has been taking place since January 2009.

The excavated rocks are between 160 and 65 million years old, and started being formed in what would have been a tropical lagoon.

Richard Harris said: "I was asked to consider the landscape, the context of the whole road, and having worked on several proposals for different sites, this is the idea that I feel is the strongest and most appropriate.

"Some of the geology has been exposed by the cutting, but will eventually become less visible as the grass grows.

"This proposal puts the geology back where it was, but is visible­ continuing up above the hill, indicating where it would have been before it was weathered away.

"An inspiring image"

Richard has been involved with the project since January 2009, making many visits to the site and consulting geologists working there.

He said: "This idea came in the late summer [of 2009] and only came about when the work had started, and the stones had been revealed.

Weymouth Relief Road construction
The project is now progressing with the help of the contractors and the council

"The heavier stones will rise up from the ground and will get progressively smaller as they run through the air to the top of the slope.

"What I am trying to do is give an inspiring image as people come into Weymouth and to reveal the geology in a dramatic way."

The idea of incorporating art in relation to the road was initially proposed in the Weymouth and Portland Commissioning Plan for 2012.

It stated that public art could be used to make the £87m road, which is due to open in spring 2011, more attractive for drivers.

The work is being supported by Arts Council South West and Dorset County Council

Richard is now working with Skanska, the contractors, the council and his own engineers to develop the project.

His designs are among several works on display at Bridport Arts Centre, as part of the Sherborne House Arts Earthscapes exhibition.

The exhibition runs until March 27, 2010.




SEE ALSO
Relief road artefacts on display
07 Mar 10 |  Dorset


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